Rep. Flake Flakes Out On Previous Support For Payroll Tax Cuts

December 17, 2010 1:34 pm ET — Kate Conway

Before President Obama's tax cut compromise passed the House last night, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) adopted Rep. Louie Gohmert's characterization of the bill, arguing that it amounts to passing a raise for members of Congress. "$2,136," he said. "That's the raise that we're all giving ourselves with this bill."

FLAKE: I don't have time to detail all that is wrong with this bill, so I'll focus on one very small part of it. It's the Social Security payroll reduction. I want everybody in this body to remember this figure, this one number: $2,136. $2,136. That's the raise that we're all giving ourselves with this bill. That's the raise that we're giving ourselves and we're borrowing every penny of it. From our kids and our grandkids, or probably China. $2,136. We don't know where that came from. I ask people in this body, where did that provision get in here? It's not part of extending current tax rates, keeping the tax rates current. This is something completely new. We're told, "Oh, somebody in the Senate put that in." But nobody has sought to remove it here. 

Shortly after, fellow Republican Dave Camp (MI) called out Flake for his inconsistency, pointing out that Flake himself once sponsored legislation "that would reduce the payroll tax that would give this so-called pay hike to members of Congress."

CAMP: Let me just say the gentleman who spoke from Arizona is a cosponsor of the legislation that would reduce the payroll tax that would give this so-called pay hike to members of Congress. But let me just say this payroll tax reduction applies to every working American, just as the rate reductions apply to every small business in America.

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Indeed, in 2009, Flake sponsored a bill that would "reduce payroll taxes" for both employers and workers — but yesterday, he didn't let that history get in the way of his posturing.

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